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UCI Men’s Baseball Falls Short Of A Comeback In Their 1-2 Loss To San Diego State University

The one run scored in the ninth inning wasn’t enough to get the UC Irvine Baseball team over the hump in their 1-2 loss to San Diego State University on Tuesday, Feb. 25 at Cicerone Field.

Despite allowing 10 hits and two runs, the UCI Anteaters notched three double plays throughout the game — their first time executing a double play this season.

The SDSU Aztecs made the scoreboard early after SDSU’s sophomore first baseman/left-handed pitcher Brian Leonhardt grounded out to first,  sending SDSU junior outfielder Matt Rudick home.

Photo by Marlene Wang/Staff

To start the second inning, UCI junior infielder Taishi Nakawake and senior infielder Adrian Dalma connected on the first double play of the season, getting SDSU redshirt junior infielder Anthony Walters out and senior first baseman and pitcher Jacob Cruce.

The action picked up again after a quiet third inning when SDSU sophomore outfielder Jaden Fein singled to right-center field, bringing in Leonhardt for their second run of the night. Tensions grew high during the Anteaters at bat when Nakawake stepped up to the plate with bases loaded and two outs. The Anteaters weren’t fortunate enough to bring runners in as Nakawake struck out swinging on a full count.

“I missed a 3-1 fastball that I should’ve hit and struck out on that 3-2,” Nakawake said.

The fifth inning was another notable defensive performance for the Anteaters. UCI redshirt senior pitcher Dylan Riddle secured his first strikeout of the season against Rudick. A grounder to second base from Leonhardt led to UCI’s second double play of the game.

The following three innings were back-and-forth as both teams were unable to advance any runners home. 

SDSU had a short offensive stance in the ninth inning after the Anteaters connected on their third double play of the night and UCI senior pitcher John Vergara struck out SDSU senior outfield Mike Jarvis.

With half an inning left to play, the Anteaters went out swinging. UCI junior catcher Jacob Castro hit three consecutive foul balls to survive a 1-2 count and then doubled down the left field line, sending the anxious crowd into an uproar. UCI junior outfielder Jake Palmer did not leave Castro stranded at second base, he hit a pop-up grounder to left field that put Castro in scoring position at third base with only one out. UCI junior outfielder Mike Peabody’s line drive to first allowed Castro to cross home plate. 

Photo by Marlene Wang/Staff

Unfortunately Peabody was tagged out at first and soon after, Dalma grounded out to second base, ending that game with a score of 1-2 in favor of the Aztecs.

“We’ve got to get on one at a time and keep connecting on good at bats,” Nakawake said.

The Anteaters will look to redeem themselves on Friday, Feb. 28, when they play against Washington University in Seattle, WA.

Stefan Curtis Jones is a Staff Writer. He can be reached at stefancj@uci.edu.